To help abide by the U. S’s non-discrimination rulings, the Michigan Catholic Church recently expanded their healthcare plan to include same-sex couples within their organization. The healthcare benefits will now extend to the church’s employees to include coverage for adults that live in an staffer’s home and who split living expenses together. While the plan now covers same-sex couples, the wording within the new policy does not specifically mention so.
Reuters reported that the Michigan Catholic Church reached this health coverage expansion decision to meet the criteria of federal government rulings regarding non-discrimination as it relates to partners of the same sex. While they have expanded their coverage to meet these rulings, the church has avoided any language around same-sex relationships, as this does not fall in line with the church’s ideals of what they believe constitutes marriage; which is a union between and male and female. Still, why the wording does not include same-sex partnerships within the coverage, these couples would be able to receive healthcare benefits, under the new plan. As per the wording, this plan could also include adult children, other relatives, as well as other unique family situations.
The church communicated this expansion via a letter recently, to their 8,400 staff. David Maluchnik, spokesman for the Michigan Catholic Conference, who offers the healthcare benefits for the church, states that they believe the change within the health plan is legally sound, and is also consistent with Catholic beliefs. He goes onto say that the coverage focuses on residency, and not relationships. Therefore, employees are free to add adults who are they are sharing in their home expenses with; they simply need to meet the plan’s requirements.
Maluchnik also noted other Catholic organizations across the nation that provide health benefits are also looking into this.